Happy Birthday, New Norcia!

New Norcia tracking station is one of the world’s most advanced stations used for deep-space communication.

Quick stats:

  • Height 40m
  • Mass of movable parts & reflector dish antenna 610t
  • Mass of support base tower 1910t
  • Reflector dish diameter 35m
  • Effective range (max) ~750m km (~5AU)
  • Transmit power (max) 20kW — about 80,000x the maximum transmit power of a GSM mobile phone
  • Receive capability: can receive signals sent from Rosetta (hundreds of millions of km away) having a power of just 0.0000000000000000000000270 W

All three of ESA’s deep-space stations (NNO plus Cebreros, Spain, and Malargüe, Argentina) use cutting-edge low-noise amplifiers, cooled to liquid Helium temperatures, that had to be developed in Europe due to US strategic export restrictions, kicking off a new business for industrial partners in France & Sweden. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that European space technology isn’t among the world’s best! More details

Yeaah… bring ‘er down, mate!” Great ambient audio on this clip, recorded in 2012 when ESA’s 35m deep-space tracking station at New Norcia, Western Australia, was undergoing maintenance. The station was inaugurated on 5 March 2003. More information on ESA’s deep-space tracking network via http://www.esa.int/estrack.

Credit: ESA

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